Bring Me A Sword
In 1 Kings 3:16-28 there is a story that demonstrates the fulfillment of God's promise to Solomon to give him wisdom and an "understanding heart to judge" the nation of Israel. The story immediately touches our hearts because it has to do with a mother and her baby. The situation is briefly this: Two women were living in the same house; each had given birth to a child. One woman rolled over on her baby during the night and smothered it to death. She promptly exchanged her dead child for the living one sleeping beside the other mother. The next morning the mother of the living child recognized what had taken place. When she confronted the other woman with her treachery, she denied it. The two women brought the case before the newly-crowned King Solomon.
The dispute was bitter and tearful, and the matter before the young king was a real test of his wisdom. The king saw that some means must be devised to determine the maternity of the living child. Verses 24 and 25 of the story reveal Solomon's proposed solution: "Then the king said, 'Bring me a sword.' So they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.' "
The account reveals that the real cutting was in the heart of the real mother. Truth was ascertained by the test of love. With the anguish that only a mother can feel, she cried out, "O, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him." The false mother, with calloused indifference, said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him."
Solomon quickly recognized the true mother. By commanding what should not and would not be done, he found out what ought to be done. The one who said "divide him" was no mother, but a monster! Solomon found the true mother by following the footsteps of love and pity. Verse 28 of the story records the result: "And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice."
The Holy Spirit chose to record this little story from the lives of the unnamed women from the lowliest moral and social standing among the Israelites (they were prostitutes) in order to show God-given wisdom in the search for truth. The only thing that would meet the need in the situation before the king was to find out the truth. The remainder of this article is devoted to observations about truth.
Truth by its very nature is absolute, dogmatic, and uncompromising. A middle course was impossible. "Divide the living child in two" shows the impossibility of compromise on the issue. The true mother had to be identified. The nature of the case demanded that Solomon be dogmatic.
The truth about Jesus is that He is all He claimed to be! Caiaphas (Matthew 26:63) sought to provoke Jesus to blasphemy: "I put you under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus might have said: (a) "Well, there is a great deal of discussion about that, and I'm not willing to comment at the present time", (b) "Some say I am divine, and you believe I am not; there may be some truth in both positions." The answer Jesus gave revealed his attitude toward truth. The Lord answered in a dogmatic, non-compromising manner: "It is as you said" (Matthew 26:64). The opposition, threats, persecution, and ultimately His death did not change the truth about Jesus.
The apostles had the same attitude as their Master toward truth. When they were repeatedly warned by the high priest, the captain of the temple, the chief priests, and the whole Jewish council "not to teach in this name" (meaning the name of Jesus), the answer was "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). The following passages illustrate the nature of Bible truth:
Matthew 12:30 - "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad."
Matthew 6:24 - "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 7:13,14 - "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Colossians 3:17 - "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
2 Timothy 3:14 - "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them."
Titus 2:1 - "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine."
1 Peter 4:11 - "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever."
Galatians 1:8,9: - "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed."
2 John 9-11 - "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds."
The gospel is not the sum of all the beliefs we like! God's word sets forth His truth on all those things which are necessary in order for us to please Him. The apostle Peter writes that "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue...". The truth on any subject is the sum total of all that God has revealed on that subject. If we follow our own minds, that is "will worship"; if we follow the traditions of men, that is "human worship". It is only when we fully submit to God's truth that we worship and serve Him acceptably.